1) Fox hunting cost us seats on its own, including Portsmouth South. We wasted hours and huge effort telling people Flick would vote against any attempt to lift the ban, but the “nasty Tories” message had flashed out on social media decisively. Whoever put it in the manifesto was a bloody idiot.
2) If you call the election to deal with a few key issues, be disciplined, campaign on those bullet points and keep it simple. Don’t appeal for a “doctor’s mandate” and then put out a rambling manifesto.
3) Labour’s 1983 “longest suicide note” was actually quite slender at 39 pages. Our verbose 2017 effort was 88 pages long. There was some good stuff, very “wet” in parts, but an awful lot of rubbish.
4) You can’t really launch an election campaign based on “trust” as a key issue when you’ve spent the previous 10 months telling people there won’t be an early election.
5) You can’t call an election and then go into hiding, either.
6) You certainly shouldn’t insist your candidates are labelled “Theresa May’s candidate” and then eventually give a speech regretting that “unsuccessful candidates” lost. We got the vote up in Portsmouth South – we don’t feel “unsuccessful” at all.
7) Among the 33 seats we lost were a large number of very sensible, “left side of the party” MPs. We lost some brilliant women, too, having spent years trying to strengthen their presence. I hope they will be vocal in the inquest into this complete disaster.
8) The DUP deal is going down almost as badly with the electorate as fox hunting did.
9) I am the kind of Unionist who wants to see the rights people have in the rest of the UK extended to Northern Ireland. The position on rights in Northern Ireland is an outrage.
10) There has to be a proper inquiry into the direction of the campaign. Why were we told to go and chase votes of “persuadables” flagged in Votesource, who turned out to be anything but persuadable? Who at CCHQ thought it was a good idea to send our slender (in Portsmouth South) polling day street teams out to knock on the doors of people who turned out to have no interest in us at all?
11) Votesource has got to go, or be radically improved. I spent years and years in retail finessing data management systems as a merchandiser and forecaster, and nobody in that world would tolerate something as clunky as Votesource.
12) We lost in many seats because younger voters were brilliantly got out by Labour, whose digital game is decades ahead of ours. Our “project fear” Facebook adverts were terrible. Our national campaign mailouts weren’t much better.
13) Before the election, you could argue that Flick in Pompey and Oliver Colvile in Plymouth were the only two Conservatives with real inner city seats. They both lost. How do we rebuild the Conservative Party to reach voters, especially the young, in the cities? We will never win real power again unless we do.
14) The reaction of No.10 and the Parliamentary party since the election doesn’t suggest they understand the magnitude of the problem. We could have another election within a few months, DUP deal or not. Many of us in the grass roots are getting ready to fight it, and take back some of the ground we’ve lost. But unless the Westminster bit of the party bucks its ideas up quickly, we are stuffed.